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PYONGYANG, August 22 (Itar-Tass) - North Korea on Thursday accepted South Korea’s proposal to hold working-level talks on August 23 at the border village Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone on the resumption of meetings of the family members and relatives separated by the Korean War (1950-1953), according to the South Korean Unification Ministry.
The discussion of this issue will take place through the Red Cross Societies of the North and the South, local media reported.
President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer is currently in North Korea on a visit. He arrived in Pyongyang to discuss issues of humanitarian cooperation and, in particular, the reunification of families.
After the historic inter-Korean summit in 2000, the two Koreas have held numerous meetings of the relatives who for more than half a century had not seen their loved ones. The latest such meeting was held in October 2010.
They are usually held during the autumn Chuseok holiday, which is similar to Thanksgiving in the West. Since this is important Korean people’s holiday both in the North and the South, and this year this date falls on September 19, the negotiations on family reunions may be held on this day, the Yonhap news agency reported.
The separated North Korean and South Korean residents cannot visit each other’s homes, exchange letters, make phone calls or communicate through the internet. Due to the advanced age of the separated relatives, their numbers are dwindling.